After hearing a plea challenging the constitution of the Uttarakhand State Pollution Control Board, a five-member bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Saturday issued guidelines in respect of eligibility for appointment of Chairman, Member Secretary and members of State Pollution Control Boards.
The bench comprising NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, Justice M. Sasidharan Nambiar, Justice Raghuvendra S. Rathore, Prof. A.R. Yousuf and Bikram Singh Sajwan was hearing an application challenging the constitution of Uttarakhand State Pollution Control Board mainly on the ground that persons who do not qualify in terms of Section 4 of the Water (Prevention and Control) of Pollution Act, 1974, and Section 5 of the Air (Prevention and Control) of Pollution Act, 1981, were being appointed as Chairman/Member Secretary of the Board.
The applicant had first approached the High Court of Uttarakhand and the court had directed the applicant to approach the NGT in view of the direction of the Supreme Court.
The case of the applicant is that persons manning important posts of the State Pollution Control Board were not eligible for the same, as they neither have any special knowledge nor practical experience in the field of environment protection and pollution control.
But the bench avoided going into the merit and demerit of the appointments individually. It left the matter in the domain of the state governments to examine the appointment of Chairman and Member Secretary of the respective Boards in light of the statutory provisions and this judgement and then come to a conclusion as to where such appointments are liable to be set aside in accordance with law.
“If the competent authority in the state government comes to that conclusion, then it must cancel/ withdraw the appointment of Chairman and/or Member Secretary, as the case may be, and simultaneously take steps for appointment of Chairman/ Member Secretary who are eligible to be appointed to these posts in accordance with the provision of the Act, criteria and guidelines stated in this judgement. Their services should be discontinued and appropriate notification, including for new appointments, be issued in accordance with the provisions of the respective Acts by the respective governments within three months from the date of pronouncement of this judgement,” the NGT said.